I was intrigued to play Alwa’s Awakening after my editor suggested I watch the trailer. I’m glad that I did because Alwa’s Awakening is the kind of game I grew up playing as a kid. During my younger years I played games like Castlevania and the Legend of Zelda on Nintendo–I must have spent hours exploring and leveling up as much as I could before moving on to the next boss. While playing Alwa’s Awakening, I did the same thing. I explored and explored until I could no more.
The story of Alwa’s Awakening seems pretty familiar, meaning that you must defeat several bosses in order to bring peace to the land. The minor twist in the game is that you play as Zoe, a human who falls asleep after playing video games only to wake up in a video game. She just so happens to wake up in the land of Alwa where the Darkness has taken over, and it is up to Alwa to put an end to this once and for all. Along the way she will encounter towns people that will aid her in quest. This reminded me of Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link and Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest.
The weapon of choice is a magical staff that gains power as you find gems. There are other ways to level up your staff, but you have to go exploring in order to find them. The skill level needed to play Alwa’s Awakening is not bad, but a little patience is needed because health is not generous and some of the save points can be very far from where you last died. There are warp zones that you can discover that will allow you to fast travel to other areas of the map to find items or unlock parts of the map that you couldn’t before. This is very much like Metroid where backtracking was key to further your chances of survival in the game.
The boss battles are fun and challenging. The best advice I can give is to advance as far as you can during the battle, but die. This way you know what move to expect. Had I followed my own advice, my death count would not be as high. Yes, there is a death counter and my confidence in beating Alwa’s Awakening was diminishing thanks to some numbers. If you find yourself stuck and unable to advance, take a break and come back to it–your brain will thank you for it. My one complaint about the game is the lack of health dropped by enemies.
Alwa’s Awakening very much feels like a Metroidvania-style of game down to the details of the game. The map level design are very true to the styles of 8-bit games that I grew up playing, so Alwa’s Awakening is a game made for all the NES fans out there. The music itself is pretty awesome and is worthy of being listened to when you are not playing.
After spending many hours playing, exploring, and battling bosses in Alwa’s Awakening, it is definitely worth getting. The small team at Elden Pixels created a game that measures up to the games that were released during the NES golden years during a modern time. The game is worth getting for the very reasonable price of $9.99.
Alwa’s Awakening will be available on February 2 for PC.
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Reviewer’s note: The author of this review was provided a PC code for purposes of this review.